J.Crew Ad Showing Boy With Pink Nail Polish Sparks Debate on Gender Identity

Started by Erin , author of Make Her Up 4/13/2011 11:56:05 AM

The ad you're looking at above has caused quite a stir amongst some parents and doctors. The ad, which shows J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons painting her son's toenails is enraging some people. The image appeared in a feature called "Saturday With Jenna" and includes Jenna's favorite products, including hot pink Essie nail polish. The caption reads "Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad. Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.” “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. "J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.” But Jo B. Paoletti, author of “Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America” told FoxNews.com she believes critics are overreacting. “Lots of kids, say 7 and under, might ask their parents for something that would seem to be cross gender, and I think most parents, especially in the privacy of their own home might think, what’s the big deal?" Paoletti said. J.Crew spokeswoman Margot Fooshee said the company had no comment on the ad. Jenna Lyons did not respond to direct requests for comment.

What do you think - did J.Crew cross the line?

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Reply by Shannon @ For the Mommas

author of For The Mommas — Finding Values for Your Family 4/13/2011 5:03:32 PM

I painted my son's toenails when he was little - he asked, so I said ok.  Trust me he is just fine - at 9 all he can talk about is how pretty girls are.


Reply by Erin

author of Make Her Up 4/13/2011 7:12:24 PM


Shannon's profile picture
Shannon said ...
I painted my son's toenails when he was little - he asked, so I said ok.  Trust me he is just fine - at 9 all he can talk about is how pretty girls are.

I'm a firm believer that if you make a big deal of it (as a parent) then it will a big deal to your child. If your kid falls off the play structure and YOU freak out - trust me, that kid's gonna start crying. If you say "You're ok!" and help them get up and try again, then your child will. I think the same goes here.... if you make it no big deal to let your son try on toe nail polish, then it will be no big deal. It's when we start turning it into a homophobic situation where things go wrong.

That's my humble opinion anyway. :)


Reply by Lolli

author of Better in Bulk 4/13/2011 8:53:28 PM

Oh my goodness. My sons used to beg to have their toenails painted! Why not? Big sisters are doing it, it's a fun bonding activity with mom, and everyone likes to feel pretty/handsome/attractive (it's all the same when you're a kid!). Granted, when they got a little older, we tried encouraging them to use clear polish, but we never told them that using pink was "wrong" or just for girls.


Reply by GDT Dressage

author of GDT Dressage - GDT Sport Horses... 4/14/2011 7:30:17 AM

How ridiculous!  My little guy loves to have his nails painted - just like mummy.  They have no clue - they just think it looks pretty and they are just like their mums.  Oh and he likes to play with my makeup too!!  

This doctors kids are going to be the ones with problems, not the ones who are just being kids....


Reply by Jen

author of Midwestern Modern Momma 4/14/2011 8:13:03 AM

Ladies, I couldn't agree with you more!  I have painted toes always, and fingers on and off, and our son noticed about a month ago that my fingernails were a vivid shade of purple.  He said they were "Buzz Lightyear Purple"!! He begged me for over a week to paint them.  We didn't want to send him to pre-school with purple fingernails, as the majority boy class would surely pounce on it, but once Friday rolled around, I pulled out my nail polish bag and let him pick out whatever he wanted.  Of course, he pulled out the purple and insisted that it go on his fingers.  Once I finished, he promptly put on his Buzz costume, complete with lazer hand cuff, light-up wings, and purple hood, and ran around for hours "lasering" anything that stood still.  On Sunday evening, I removed his purple polish and he's not been "scarred" at all.  This fuss is crazy!  If those supposed "doctors" would step into the high school  where I work they'd be horrified.  In our rural school, boys dress like girls all the time for spirit week.  Why, just last month the entire football team loooked like cheerleaders!

There is a reason that this ad got so much attention. Why are so many people concerned and object to cross gender identification imprinting? We are supposed to lead our children and set examples for them and offer them gender choices in such a way that they can choose for themselves. That works for older children, but when you begin dressing our young boys as girls and the other way around, you are sending an imprint message to the subconscious of someone entrusted to your care. If you really want to teach your child what the world thinks about this sort of activity, paint your boy child's toenails hot pink when he is in high school and send him to gym class. Then if that doesn't work, do the same thing for him and let him join the Marine Corps. We learn by association, approval and acceptance and it is not wonder we often get off track.

My comment is not an opinion because of my educational conditioning, my comment is not a fact because I am not learned in this area, my comment is intended to be a suggestive thought only.  Dr M

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